Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly feature which highlights some great businesses. This week we feature Deighton-based training company Purple Dog.
It’s a training business with a memorable name that’s serious about saving lives.
Deighton-based Purple Dog offers first aid, health and safety and workplace training – delivered with passion, good humour and a smile.
Former youth worker Steve Moss set up the business in 2009 aiming to offer something different.
“First aid is a serious business but we deliver our courses with enthusiasm, passion and humour and I want people to have an experience and have a laugh,” said Steve.
“We do things properly. We won’t pass learners just because they’ve come on a course. They must be competent and confident. We want people to be able to do their jobs and save lives.”
Steve and wife Helen both worked for Kirklees Council but were made redundant in 2008. The couple set up S&H Training and quickly earned contracts for training with SureStart children’s centres, run by the council.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” said Steve. “Both Helen and I were known within Kirklees Council and there were 33 SureStart centres and each had their own budgets.”
The business grew rapidly and while S&H Training continued to provide services for the council, a new name was needed for the other side of the company.
The couple wanted a fun and memorable name and randomly Helen came up with Purple Dog which became their new brand.
The company now provides a raft of training courses from first aid to manual handling, ladder safety to fire marshal training which can be delivered in-person or over Zoom.
There are also more than 50 online courses in such as mental health first aid, anti-harassment and bullying, social care and conflict resolution.
Purple Dog also runs canine first aid courses for professionals working with dogs such as kennels staff, dog walkers and dog groomers.
While canine first aid is not a legal requirement for dog walkers or groomers, it is often a requirement for insurance cover.
“As an ice breaker often say I snog dogs and humans!” said Steve. “That usually gets their attention and I get some funny quips back too.”
For Steve, his training is all about being fun as well as informative but he’s deadly serious that his learners know their stuff and aren’t just there to tick a box.
Steve has had numerous jobs in his working life. Long before Purple Dog he was a bouncer and also worked in the licensed trade.
It was during his time running The Junction pub in Kirkburton that he had a harrowing experience that made him question how he’d been taught first aid.
“One Sunday morning someone came knocking on the pub door saying their baby had stopped breathing,” said Steve.
“I went and did what I could but the baby had already died. It was then what was called a ‘cot death.’ The paramedics told me there was nothing else that I could have done.
“I suffered afterwards with post-traumatic stress disorder and it made me question whether I had been trained correctly, though I never did anything about it.”
It was only years later when he started his own business that he realised he had a passion to make a difference in how training was delivered.
“We have assessment sheets and learners must hit the criteria,” he said. “We won’t pass people for the sake of passing people.”
Steve, 56, and Helen, 55, deliver the training along with four tutors, one of whom – Matt – is a former Royal Marine and ex-Navy pilot. Steve makes sure they have the right people on board and they’ve just spent four months recruiting two new tutors.
Purple Dog also takes its corporate responsibility seriously too, and supports charities and the local community.
The company supports the Armed Forces Covenant in helping ex-military personnel return to civilian life and also sponsors Huddersfield Giants Women and the football team at The Crown in Scissett.
They also provide first aid cover at community events, often free of charge. Steve attended last weekend’s Golcar Lily Day, for example. They also provide free training for any community which has bought its own defibrillator.
Purple Dog, which is based at the Chestnut Centre in Deighton and also uses The Zone in Huddersfield as a training venue, never stands still and Steve is looking to run more courses.
He’s looking at trauma-based training to help people deal with catastrophic bleeding in the street from such as gunshot wounds or knife wounds and also drug abuse or overdose.
Steve is also looking at doing a vlog or a podcast to bring his life-saving skills to more people.
For more about Purple Dog go to the website HERE